World Cooking – Togo

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Togo
Progress: 38/193

Nearly a quarter of African nations have part of their coastline on the Gulf of Guinea. It’s therefore a bit ridiculous that Togo is the second of two nations from this area (the other being São Tomé and Príncipe) that I have covered. Togo can be found in the north of this gulf and is one of a few long, thin nations that have access to this sea route.

In terms of food, Togolese falls into the West African cuisine umbrella that includes neighbouring Benin as well as Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia. As food umbrellas go it’s a pretty broad clutch of nations and traditions – a lot of which have been influenced and scrambled around by the colonial interests of France, Germany, Portugal and the UK. As such, borders as we know them are not what they would have been if not for European interference and foods really transcend countries.

For today’s dish I found the recipe first and then had to make a choice as to what country I thought would be best to cross off. It’s to be expected that neighbouring countries would have similar cuisines, but after a lot of looking around for alternate recipes I decided today would be Togo’s turn and that I would tackle Benin at some point in the future.

Main: Couscous Azindessi

One thing I love about this region of the world is the large number of dishes that have peanuts as a major flavour. It’s one of those flavour profiles that unites me with my husband’s love of satay sauce, so dishes like this always go down a treat… even if he isn’t exactly fond of eating chicken.

The recipe for today’s dish came from Food Geeks and is definitely one that I want to keep around as a way to impress people with something delicious that comes from Sub-Saharan Africa. In the centre you can see some baked couscous that has had crushed peanuts in (a true revelation and something that I’m going to be making to accompany other dishes). Surrounding it you have chicken with a sauce primarily made from peanuts, onion and tomato.

I made something fairly similar for The Gambia, but I think that some similarities are going to be unavoidable for the smaller nations. I think I actually preferred this one, but that might be because of the couscous accompaniment more than anything. I wonder how many more variations of this peanut sauce I’ll be making before this challenge is complete.

It’s going to be a while since I am back on the world cooking wagon, but I have to say that doing 38 nations in the first year is nothing to be sniffed at. After all, it’s not like I put a deadline on this or anything. Looking at the numbers, I need to be looking to Europe and Asia for the next country. It’s probably about time I crossed off one of the big cuisine nations, but there’s something really fun about trying to find recipes for a tiny nation. I guess I’ll have to see where the chips fall in a few weeks.

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